An Instant Film Story

[pictures at the bottom]
This is just a little tiny story, it only takes few lines, it only lasted few minutes.
It happened that I could make someone happy, and a picture was the reason for happiness.
I chatted one hour (or two?) with Jesús, great person, photographer, pinholer and chemist.
We left that was almost sunset, with a nice light and atmosphere.

I walk toward the Olympic Harbour, to the Moll de la Marina. There you always meet tourists, and therefore people trying to survive selling something.

– “No thanks. I can’t eat a “cocco bello” (fresh piece of coconut) now, I just had a coffee. ” –
I answer to this Pakistani, middle age, man.
Then asks me – “I take you a picture?” –  as he did before to other tourists.
– “Very kind of you, but no, I’m not a tourist indeed.”

And then I start taking a picture (quite bad) with the Polaroid SE600 I have with me, with instant film Fuji 100pc (thanks Fuji!).

There’s almost no people now, and fascinated by the process (shot, pull, wait, peel) he simply says:
-“take a picture of me.” –
I think (who knows) I felt his thrilling, he thinking  “I wish he does”. But yet we seemed so socially distant and different.
It was not likely, it was a long shot…

-“Give me one minute, I’ll do it!” – is my answer.

Now I’m worried because the light is quite low, I had no tripod, I started feeling responsible, I have to make him a nice picture!

You should know that both tourists and emigrants share the need to be portrayed with something symbolic: the Golden Gate, the Colosseum…  …the 2 towers of the Olympic Harbour, in this case.

He poses. I shoot!

I pull out, he knows from before the picture will take 1 minute or more. But the temperature is dropping, and I decide I’ll wait more time.
I peel and… it’s nice!
I am so happy, and being the 10th and last picture, I can even use the empty box as frame.
I show him the picture. He seems satisfied and smiles, seeing himself there, under the towers, in Barcelona, while his wife and children are in Pakistan (he told me).

-“Take, you can even hang it if you wish” – I tell him showing the framed picture.

His smile widens, he understood my gesture, and willing to correspond my gift he instinctively offers me “cocco bello” – “Take, take!”
I smile – “No, really, as if accepted. But take the picture, it’s for you” – I reconfirm.

I worked with children, and in that moment I recognized the same “focused” happiness.

While walking away, he keep watching and studying that object he was holding, where he could see himself  standing under the “2 towers”.
He walks further, still face down and looking at that peculiar gift: a picture, an object, a picture.


Sometimes I need a situation that reminds me what #Analog photography is and what an #instant #film can do for #happiness.

Cocco Cocco_man

One thought on “An Instant Film Story

  1. Una historia conmovedora. No se muy bien cúal ha sido mi papel aquí, a no ser que consideres que nuestra charla haya sido un buen preludio para tu encuentro, tan humano, con esta persona. Me encanta la historia que cuentas por sencilla, por próxima y, sobre todo, por humana. Gracias por “meterme en el ajo”!!


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